LACoFD Health Programs Office (HPO)
The Fire Department’s Health Program Office (HPO), historically, was responsible for ensuring that Department staff had proper vaccinations and followed up on any occupational infectious disease exposures. In light of the pandemic, the HPO, over a period of two weeks, brought in a new electronic platform that is capable of monitoring the more than 4,000 Department employees for any symptoms of COVID-19. Additionally, the HPO has taken on the responsibility of COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and following the health for our entire Department.
To date, they have handled more than 12,000 suspected COVID-19 exposures, performed more than 2,000 COVID-19 PCR tests, managed more than 150 Department members through the course of their COVID-19 illness, and performed the largest prehospital seroprevalence study of COVID-19 antibodies in the United States.
(Note: Photo was taken before masks were required.)
LACoFD IMT Support-DPH COVID-19 Logistics/Housing
The Fire Chief assigned Incident Management Team 1 (IMT-1) to support the Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) in mid-March. IMT-1 (75 people) deployed to the Long Beach Convention Center to support the receiving, storage, packaging, and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment Countywide. In early May, logistics operations transitioned from Long Beach to the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Fire Department handed operations back to DHS and DPH. IMT-1 distributed more than 15 million items in over 3,500 shipments to over 1,200 different locations countywide. In late March, Chief Daryl Osby redirected IMT-1 to support the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative to help stand up hotels for the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) as part of the Statewide initiative, Project Room Key. Through mid-May, IMT-1 helped to successfully open 26 hotels with 2,300 rooms sheltering more than 2,000 PIH.
In early April, a portion of IMT-1 was reassigned to assist Dr. Clayton Kazan, Medical Director, his team, and nearly 75 lifeguards with the management of COVID-19 testing sites. Together, over a six-week period, they oversaw the operation of 32 testing sites, ten of which were drive-up sites, testing more than 128,000 County residents. On May 15, 2020, the IMT-1 handed testing site management over to DHS. Here is a video link the Lifeguard members created: https://vimeo.com/424160243/2ec90214c6.
LACoFD Online Purchase Requisition System
The recently developed Fire Department Online Purchase Requisition System (OPRS) is an electronic system used by staff to request non-stock supplies and services (S&S).Prior to this system, requests for non-stock S&S were submitted via a paper form that required multiple hard signatures. Requests would take multiple days as the paper form had to be submitted through multiple approval layers before reaching Procurement. The paper form was often lost in transit, which required staff to resubmit requests.
The OPRS shortened this process to under one day by allowing electronic submission/approval of requests and email notifications. The OPRS's ability to track the status of each request also provided an audit trail for timely approval and processing of all submitted requests. OPRS played an integral role in allowing the Fire Department to continue its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring the timely processing and ordering of critical S&S needed for emergency operations personnel along with providing a platform that afforded teleworking staff the ability to submit and approve requisitions electronically.
LACoFD Telemedicine Unit (TMU)
The Fire Department’s Telemedicine Unit (TMU) was built from scratch during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March 2020. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Bureau had been operating an Advanced Provider Response Unit (APRU) – partially funded with a Quality and Productivity Commission’s Productivity Investment Fund (PIF) grant as a pilot project – since November 2019. As a part of that, the framework for telemedicine access to the Medical Director had been established to support the pilot project.
With COVID-19, the APRU was transitioned to a stationary TMU, with additional funding provided through PIF grant funding, in order to provide assistance and guidance to EMS providers in the field across the entire Department, compared with the relatively small area covered by an APRU. The TMU is available to the entire Department, from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., seven days/week. TMU has been merged into the APRU program, and a team of three EMS physicians provides support to the APRU staff and backup availability for telemedicine when the APRU is on another call for services.
Quarantine & Isolation Shelter Project
The Quarantine and Isolation (QI) Shelter Project was started in March 2020, headed by the Department of Health Services (DHS), and supported by the County Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) for County residents suffering from COVID-19 but well enough not be hospitalized. These high risk facilities were staffed with DHS contract medical personnel responsible for patient care and monitoring. Because these facilities were not hospitals or formal medical facilities, there were many unmet logistical needs and no one available to assist with the day-to-day operations.
In March 2020, as the initial facility at Dockweiler Beach was getting stood-up, a call was placed to the CEOC requesting qualified logistics personnel to assist. The Fire Department’s Lon Anderson and Patrick O’Neill were dispatched for what would be a 103-day assignment to establish 5 additional QI shelters throughout the County. They were responsible for the complete organization of the facilities, including the setup of hot, warm and cold zones; maintaining appropriate personal protective equipment levels; build out of remote nurses’ stations; development of site maps; client drop-off/pick-up areas; pre-plans for expansion, etc. Once the needs of the site were met, Lon Anderson and Patrick O’Neill maintained logistical support. At the end of their assignment, they demoblized/combined sites and preplanned for 3 additional sites on County property.